The new law on gambling – Act No. 186/2016 Coll. (Gambling Act) – entered into effect in the year 2017, as well as the amendment of Act No. 253/2008 Coll. on Selected Measures Against Legitimisation of Proceeds from Crime and Financing of Terrorism (MAL).
What is changing and why?
From 1st January 2017, the new Gambling Act No. 186/2016 Coll. comes into law and it is our duty to comply with this act.
Are all the changes brought about by this law effective from the year 2017?
They are not. Currently we are in a so-called "transitional period" which will last at least until the end of the year 2017. It means that presently our customers are facing no changes caused by the Gambling Act. Registration is still compulsory only for branches with "casino" status. We cannot rule out the possibility of further changes to what we are about to state here, as the exact interpretation is still being specified by the Ministry of Finance.
What use do you make of registration data?
In fact, we don‘t actually need any of your personal details, but we are obliged to collect them in accordance with two laws, the Gambling Act and the AML. Unfortunately, we cannot let you play at, or even enter, one of our branches without having your details submitted to us. All the other entrepreneurs in the industry are under the same obligation, so you won‘t be able to avoid it. Under this law, we are to collect and store personal information for a period of ten years. To maximize your safety, all the data is encrypted and secured in the best way possible.
What about the information from the CARD – IN loyalty program? Will it be accessible to revenue officers, Ministry of Finance staff, and so on?
Never! Data from the loyalty program are not subject to the new law – rather, it is our internal information system and its content can only be used by our company for marketing purposes. No government office or auditing body have neither the right, nor the means, to access that information.
So when will the new statutory regulations enter into effect?
Basically none of the regulations that directly concern you will enter into effect before the beginning of the year 2018. Some regulations, such as the registry of expelled persons, will enter into effect even later due to their complexity. We will do our best to ensure that all these compulsory changes bother you as little as possible and we will also keep you up to date with new developments.
So what are the things that will change with the new law?
There will be the following obligations and restrictions:
- Registration upon entering our branch (this is only new for gambling houses, as casinos have long been under this obligation.
- Comparing the supplied personal details to those in the Registry of Citizens and Foreigners (ROC) to verify that all the information is correct.
- Self-limiting measures – option to set limits on the number of entries and net losses. This is not compulsory, if you don‘t wish to be limited, you simply don’t set any limits.
- Registry of Expelled Persons – it is being finalized by the Ministry of Finance. Below you will find more details about who and how can, or cannot, be added to the registry.
- A duty to provide so-called live games (such as Black Jack, Poker, or roulette) in casinos.
- What personal details do I need to provide in order to register?
- According to the Gambling Act, the person requesting registration (entry) must submit upon entering the premises his or her personal identification and contact details, that is, photo ID, which contains: name, surname, date of birth, place of birth, personal identification number, permanent residency address, ID number, place of issue, and expiration date.
Will my submitted personal details be further verified?
Yes, the law states that details of all customers who wish to gamble must be verified in the Registry of Citizens and Foreigners (ROB). This check will be done automatically. For verification to be successful, all the personal details submitted to us must be entered correctly, otherwise we cannot let you gamble.
What if I make up the information?
The verification in the Registry of Citizens is compulsory. It was designed to eliminate errors. If your details do not pass this test, we cannot let you gamble.
How do you protect such sensitive personal information?
As in previous cases, this, too, is prescribed by law, called the Personal Information Protection Act. The same goes for customers who use our loyalty system. We also commit to obeying this law as stated in the general conditions necessary for registration into our loyalty MERKUR CASINO CARD – IN system, in the same way as you agree to having your personal details used only by our company, and, in particular, to analyze the data in order to distribute the right amount of loyalty points to our customers in the best and fairest way possible.
I hear about some temporary gambling account. What does it mean?
Yes, it is possible to issue a so-called temporary customer account. The temporary account is used when it is impossible to verify your personal information submitted to us in the ROC. It can only be issued when the identity and age of the customer is confirmed. The account can be issued for maximum of 3 months and the deposited stake cannot exceed 3000,- Kč.
Can revenue authorities tax my winnings?
By law, all the winnings from bets are freed of income tax for all natural persons.
What positive changes will live games bring into your casinos?
The new law makes it compulsory to include live games in casinos according to ratio of at least one live games table to ten slot machines. This means that in our branches you will be able to enjoy at least three new tables with the traditional range of live games. In our larger branches, there could be up to ten live games tables.
When will you introduce live games to your branches?
We are planning to begin introducing live games during the year 2017.
What are those self-limiting measures?
This precaution is a direct result of the new law. It consists of measures which support responsible gambling. It is up to you to decide whether you want to set some kind of a limit, or whether you prefer the "Unlimited" option which allows you to gamble free of restrictions.
Self-limiting measures for technical games (slot machines) are set for:
- maximum daily and maximum monthly amount of bets
- maximum net losses per one day and per month
In case of live gambling, self-restricting measures are set for:
- maximum net losses for 1 day and for 1 month
- number of visits per month
What is the daily / monthly maximum amount of bets?
It is the total of all the resources you can spend on gambling in the given period.
What is the daily / monthly maximum amount of losses?
It is the total sum that you are allowed to lose in the given period, calculated by subtracting all the bets from your total winnings.
Can I adjust my restrictive measures in the future?
Yes, it will be possible, but the change will occur only 7 days after entering the changes. Moreover, if you lose access to your account, it won‘t be possible to make any changes until your restriction has run out. However (this is important!), when you set your limits stricter than before, the change will come into effect immediately!
Do I have to set my self-limiting measures?
Of course not, the law only states that we have to offer this option to all our customers. If you don‘t wish to set yoursef any limits, you simply don‘t.
REGISTER OF EXPELLED PERSONS
I was told that the government can now ban me from gambling, is that true?
The Ministry of Finance is preparing a register of natural persons excluded from participating in gambling. The register will likely not be finished before 2018, perhaps even later. People who will be listed in that register will no longer be allowed to gamble. However, if you happen to be included in the register, you should be notified in advance as part of the administration procedure (that is, if you reside at or collect your mail at your listed permanent or postal address).
How does one get included in the Register of Expelled Persons?
The Ministry of Finance alone can add somebody to the register, in cases when:
- somebody explicitly asks to be included out of his/her own volition
- automatically (decision will be made by the authorities) in cases of people who:
- receive from the social security office the „material minimum“ benefits against which bankruptcy has lawfully been filed and entered into legal force
- who have been issued with a preliminary measure prohibiting gambling and betting in accordance with the law regulating criminal proceedings
- who have been issued with appropriate restriction and appropriate duty to refrain from gambling, slot machines and betting, or undergoing protective therapy prescribed to treat addiction to gambling in accordance with criminal code of law
Can I gamble when undergoing insolvency or under distraint?
Yes, you can, because neither insolvency nor distraint fall in the category of bankruptcy ascertained by court of law.
Can I gamble when I am on sick leave, or when receiving unemployment benefits?
Yes, you can. The register applies to people, who receive the „material minimum“ benefits, which are different from both the sick leave and from unemployment benefits.
Could my social benefits be taken away from me if I keep gambling?
No, they cannot. We just can’t let you gamble, if you are included in the register of excluded persons, that is all. You will not lose any benefits, nor will it have any other effects.